Head lice are contagious, but prevention is the key to preventing them. It is important to wash personal items frequently, avoid sharing hats and stuffed animals, and treat all members of the household who have been in contact with someone with lice. Avoid head-to-head contact, including the sharing of towels, combs, and clothing. If you do have to share items, wash them in hot water and dry them on high heat. You can also place clothing in a plastic bag for two weeks. Also, keep your children’s head away from furniture and upholstered furniture.
In some cases, head lice can cause sores on the scalp. These sores will often contain live lice and nits, and they will be red and swollen. They can occur anywhere on the head, but are most noticeable at the back of the head, around the base of the skull, and near the hair line.
In addition to being itchy and uncomfortable, scabs on the scalp may also be indicative of an underlying medical condition. You should not pick at the scabs, since this will only aggravate the condition. If the scabs won’t heal, it could be a sign of skin cancer. Although scalp scabs are usually temporary and go away on their own, you should always consult a doctor if you notice them persisting.
Head lice are easily transferred from one person to another, even within the same household. The best way to prevent the spread of head lice is to check all the children in the household and treat them right away. Once the lice are treated, you should be able to go back to your normal activities. Often, you’ll be able to go back to work or school the next day.